Power Point Notes Ch. 17 - Watertown School District

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Presentation Plus! United States Government: Democracy in Action
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Making It Relevant 17
Electing the President
• Candidates for president begin organizing
their campaigns almost one year before the
election. 
• Following the national conventions in late
summer, the presidential campaigns
become intense by early September. 
• They end on Election Day–the first
Tuesday after the first Monday of
November.
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Electoral Votes and the States
• To be elected president, a candidate must
win at least 270 of the 538 available
electoral votes. 
• The candidate who wins the greatest
number of popular votes in any state
usually receives all of that state’s electoral
votes. 
• The larger a state’s population, the more
electoral votes it has.
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Electoral Votes and the States (cont.)
• To win the presidency, a candidate must
pay special attention throughout the
campaign to states such as California,
New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania. 
• When these largest states appear to be
divided between the contenders, however,
other states with smaller electoral votes
become vital to the candidates.
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Television and the Candidate’s Image
• The image, or mental picture, that voters
have of a candidate is extremely
important. 
• The candidate who is perceived as more
“presidential” has a decided advantage on
Election Day. 
• The mass media, especially television, are
extremely powerful in any campaign
because they can create both positive and
negative images for the candidates.
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Television and the Candidate’s Image
• A candidate’s organization spends a
great deal of time and effort on
“packaging” its candidate. 
(cont.)
• Political commercials create the
candidate’s presidential image. 
• Just as important as candidates’
appearances on television commercials
are their appearances on the news
programs and in debates.
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Financing Campaigns
• Campaign spending for each seat in
Congress in 1996 cost about $1.5 million,
and presidential candidates spent an
estimated $400 million. 
• The 1996 election made campaign finance
reform a political issue, both because of
the amount of money spent and
questionable fund-raising methods.
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Political Action Committees
• The new election campaign laws
encouraged the growth of political action
committees (PACs)–organizations
designed to support political candidates
with campaign contributions. 
• An individual may contribute up to $5,000
to a PAC. 
• While a PAC may not contribute more than
$5,000 to a single candidate, it may make
contributions to as many candidates as it
wishes.
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Serious Questions Raised
• The election of 1996 raised questions
about campaign finance, especially the
laws governing so-called “soft money.” 
• In 1979 party officials had complained
that campaign finance legislation was
making fund-raising difficult. 
• Congress responded with new laws
enabling parties to raise unlimited
amounts of money for general purposes,
not designated to particular candidates–
soft money.
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Serious Questions Raised (cont.)
• Soft money became controversial in 1996
because of the amount spent, the
questionable way it was raised, and the
lack of accounting as to how it was spent.
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End of Section 1
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Introduction
• Through their votes, Americans have the
power to select more than 500,000
government officials at all levels of
government. 
• The right to vote, or suffrage, is the
foundation of American democracy. 
• Today almost all United States citizens 18
years old or older may exercise this right.
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Early Limitations on Voting
• Before the American Revolution, only about
5 or 6 percent of the adult population was
eligible to vote. 
• Women and most African Americans were
not allowed to vote; neither were white
males who did not own property or pay
taxes. 
• Educated men of the time did not believe in
mass democracy in which every adult
could vote. 
• Many believed voting was best left to
wealthy, white, property-owning males.
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Early Limitations on Voting (cont.)
• During the first half of the 1800s, state
legislatures gradually abolished property
requirements and religious restrictions for
voting. 
• By the mid-1800s the country had
achieved universal white adult male
suffrage. 
• The issue of woman suffrage, however,
had not been addressed.
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Woman Suffrage
• The fight for woman suffrage dates from
the mid-1800s. 
• Not until after World War I, when the
Nineteenth Amendment was ratified,
was woman suffrage put into effect
nationwide.
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African American Suffrage
• When the Constitution went into effect in
1789, African Americans, both enslaved
and free, made up about 10 percent of the
United States population. 
• Yet nowhere were enslaved persons
permitted to vote, and free African
Americans who were allowed to vote could
do so in only a few states.
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The Fifteenth Amendment
• The first effort to extend suffrage to African
Americans nationwide came shortly after
the Civil War, when the Fifteenth
Amendment was ratified in 1870. 
• The amendment provided that no state can
deprive any citizen of the right to vote “on
account of race, color, or previous
condition of servitude.”
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Grandfather Clause
• Although the Fifteenth Amendment was an
important milestone on the road to full
suffrage, it did not result in complete voting
rights for African Americans. 
• Southern states set up a number of
roadblocks designed to limit and
discourage the participation of African
American voters.
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Grandfather Clause (cont.)
• The grandfather clause, for example,
provided that only voters whose
grandfathers had voted before 1867 were
eligible to vote without paying a poll tax or
passing a literacy test. 
• The Supreme Court declared the
grandfather clause unconstitutional in
1915.
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Literacy Test
• Until recent years many states required
citizens to pass a literacy test to qualify to
vote. 
• Some Southern states used the literacy
tests to keep African Americans from the
polls. 
• The Voting Rights Acts of 1965 and 1970
and later additions to these laws outlawed
literacy tests.
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Poll Tax
• Another device designed to discourage
African American suffrage was the poll
tax–an amount of money, usually one or
two dollars, that a citizen had to pay before
he or she could vote. 
• Because the poll tax had to be paid not
only for the current year, but also for
previous unpaid years as well, it was a
financial burden for poor citizens of all
ethnic backgrounds.
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Poll Tax (cont.)
• Thousands of African Americans in the
states with poll taxes were excluded from
the polls. 
• Ratified in 1964, the Twenty-fourth
Amendment outlawed the poll tax in
national elections.
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The Voting Rights Acts
• Despite the elimination of many
discriminatory practices by the early 1960s,
African American participation in elections,
particularly in the South, was still limited. 
• The civil rights movement of the 1960s
resulted in national legislation that enabled
larger numbers of African Americans to
participate in the electoral process.
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The Voting Rights Acts (cont.)
• The Voting Rights Act, passed in 1965,
and later voting rights laws of 1970, 1975,
and 1982 empowered the federal
government to register voters in any district
where less than 50 percent of African
American adults were on the voting lists. 
• The Voting Rights Acts resulted in a
dramatic increase in African American voter
registration.
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The Voting Rights Acts (cont.)
• The increased opportunity to vote meant
that African American Southerners could
now play a more important role in political
life in the South.
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Twenty-sixth Amendment
• In the 1960s, when many young Americans
were fighting in Vietnam, a movement to
lower the voting age to 18 began. 
• The basic argument for lowering the voting
age was that if individuals were old enough
to be drafted and fight for their country,
they were old enough to vote. 
• This debate ended with the ratification of
the Twenty-sixth Amendment.
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What did each of the voting rights acts
achieve?
The acts resulted in a dramatic increase in African
American voter registration because barriers to
voting were outlawed.
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End of Section 2
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Introduction
• Five major factors influence voter
decisions: 
– personal background of the voter 
– degree of voter loyalty to one of the political
parties 
– issues of the campaign 
– voters’ image of the candidates 
– propaganda
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Personal Background of Voters
• Voters’ personal backgrounds affect their
decisions. 
• A person’s background includes such
things as upbringing, family, age,
occupation, income level, and even
general outlook on life.
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Age
• An individual’s age might affect a voting
decision because each issue affects age
groups differently.
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Other Background Influences
• Voters’ education, religion, and racial or
ethnic background also affect their attitudes
toward the candidates. 
• However, individuals do not always vote
the way their backgrounds might lead one
to believe.
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The Cross-Pressured Voter
• One reason why voters’ backgrounds do
not always forecast how they will vote is
that many voters are cross-pressured. 
• A cross-pressured voter is one who is
caught between conflicting elements in his
or her own life such as religion, income
level, and peer group.
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Loyalty to Political Parties
• Another influence on voters’ decisions is
their loyalty (or lack of it) to one of the
political parties. 
• Because the majority of American voters
consider themselves either Republicans or
Democrats, most vote for their party’s
candidates.
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Strong Versus Weak Party Voters
• Strong party voters tend to see party as
more important than the issues or the
candidates. 
• In the voting booth, they usually vote a
straight party ticket–they select the
candidates of their party only. 
• Unlike strong party voters, weak party
voters are likely to switch their votes to the
rival party’s candidates from time to time. 
• Weak party voters are more influenced by
issues and the candidates than they are by
party loyalty.
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Independent Voters
• Another important group of voters is the
independent voters, who think of
themselves as neither Republicans nor
Democrats. 
• Even when independents tend to lean
toward one party, their party loyalty is
weak. 
• The number of independent voters has
increased over the years.
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Independent Voters (cont.)
• Experts believe that the number of weak
party voters and independent voters will
increase in the future and that presidential
candidates will no longer be able to rely on
party loyalty for victory.
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Issues in Election Campaigns
• Many voters are not well-informed about
all the issues discussed in election
campaigns. 
• Still, today’s voters are better informed than
the voters of earlier years.
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Issues in Election Campaigns (cont.)
• Several reasons account for this shift: 
– Television has brought the issues into almost
every home in the country. 
– Voters today are better educated than were
voters of the past. 
– Current issues–pollution, the energy crisis,
inflation, school busing, gun control, crime,
unemployment, and women’s rights–seem to
have a greater impact on the personal lives of
many voters.
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The Candidate’s Image
• Most Americans want a president who
appears to be someone they can trust as a
national leader. 
• Many voters select candidates on image
alone–for the personal qualities they
perceive them to have. 
• At the very least, a candidate must be
viewed as competent to handle the
problems of the day.
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Propaganda
• Political parties, interest groups, and
businesses need to convince people of the
value of their candidates, ideas, goods, or
services. 
• Many of these messages could be
classified as “propaganda.” 
• Propaganda involves using information,
ideas, or rumors to influence opinion. 
• Propaganda is not necessarily lying or
deception; rather, it uses information in any
way that supports a predetermined
objective.
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Profile of Regular Voters
• Citizens who vote regularly have certain
positive attitudes toward government and
citizenship. 
• Investigators have found that education,
age, and income are important factors in
predicting which citizens will vote. 
• The more education a citizen has, the
more likely it is that he or she will be a
regular voter.
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Profile of Regular Voters (cont.)
• Middle-aged citizens have the highest
voting turnout of all age groups. 
• Voter regularity also increases with
income–the higher a person’s income,
the more regularly that person votes.
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Profile of Nonvoters
• For several reasons, many Americans do
not vote. 
• Some citizens do not vote because they do
not meet state voting requirements. Almost
all states have three basic requirements: 
– All states limit the voting right to American
citizens. 
– Most states require voters to be residents of
the state for a certain period before they are
allowed to vote. 
– All states, with the exception of North Dakota,
require voters to register or record their names
officially with local election boards.
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Profile of Nonvoters (cont.)
• In recent years these requirements have
been made less burdensome, but voter
turnout is still low.
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Decline in Participation
• The percentage of Americans voting in
presidential elections has declined from
about 62 percent in 1960 to less than 50
percent in 1996. 
• Even fewer Americans vote in
congressional elections. 
• The voting rate is lower still in state and
local elections.
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Ways of Increasing Voter Turnout
• Political experts who are concerned about
the high rate of nonvoting in the United
States have suggested a number of ways
to get more citizens to the polls on Election
Day. 
• For example, shift Election Day from
Tuesday to Sunday, so that citizens are
free to vote without having to take time off
from work. 
• Another idea would be to allow voters to
register on Election Day.
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Ways of Increasing Voter Turnout (cont.)
• Some favor a national registration system,
so that voters’ registration follows them to
a new state when they move. 
• Making it easier to vote, however, has not
been effective in getting more people to the
polls in recent years.
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What personal background factors do you
believe will influence your decision as a
voter?
Possible answers include: upbringing, family, age,
occupation, income level, education, religion, racial
or ethnic background, and general outlook on life.
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What outside influences affect how a
person votes?
Influences include: political parties, media
coverage of candidates and campaign issues,
propaganda.
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End of Section 3
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How does the number of electoral
votes of a state affect presidential
campaigning?
Larger states with more electoral votes get
more attention from candidates.
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What were the three devices used after
1870 to prevent African Americans from
voting?
1. grandfather clause
2. literacy test
3. poll tax
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Which group of Americans gained the
right to vote under the Twenty-sixth
Amendment?
The Twenty-sixth Amendment gave the right to
vote to those between 18 and 21 years old.
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What effects has television had on
presidential elections?
Television has brought the issues into
almost every home. It has also increased
the importance of a candidate’s image.
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What factors are important in predicting
which citizens will vote?
Education, age, and income are all important
factors in predicting which citizens will vote.
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Describe the current voter registration
system.
The National Voter Registration law, which took
effect in 1995, requires states to make
registration forms available not only at motor
vehicle departments but also at numerous state
offices, welfare offices, and agencies that serve
the disabled. It also requires states to allow
mail-in registration.
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Section Focus Transparency 17-3 (1 of 2)
1. Brazil, with 100%
participation
2. all except for the
United States
3. Answers will vary,
but students should
demonstrate an
understanding of
voting issues in the
United States and
other countries.
Section Focus Transparency 17-3 (2 of 2)
End of the Slide Show
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